Eating Out in New York: Zenkichi

We were recently in New York for a whirlwind trip to see my dear friend get married, and despite the crazy schedule, we still managed  – as we always do – to sneak in a good meal (or four…but this particular one was outside of the wedding festivities). The place was a recommendation of the bride-to-be herself, and quite a good one. It’s in Brooklyn, it’s called Zenkichi, and woe be to the one who tries to return from a bathroom trip there without assistance from the staff (I’ll explain that part later).

Zenkichi Menu

The restaurant is located behind an unassuming fence, and the inside is dark, with many winding hallways leading to individual booths enclosed by roll-down screens. It’s cozy and romantic, and gives the feeling that you might be outside at night.

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Eating In: Carrot-Leek Soup with Quinoa

Sometimes I have a bit of an app problem. Yes, iPhone apps. Not as bad as some people, certainly, but I’m always reading about all these cool apps and then downloading them and then forgetting I have them and letting them just hang about cluttering up my phone. Some of them are even quite good! For instance, KptnCook (don’t ask me what the name means) offers up three recipes a day, generally of the healthy, under-30-minute variety. Of course, I miss a lot of the recipes due to the aforementioned forgetting about the app, but when I DO remember to use it, the recipes generally turn out rather well. Which brings me to this recipe, which is heavily based on one from KptnCook – carrot-leek soup with quinoa (and other things too!).

Carrot-Leek Soup with Quinoa

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No Recipe Required: Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

We went to a party recently where the potluck theme was “elevated food from childhood.” The Boy immediately decided he wanted to make elevated tuna salad (with homemade bread – delicious!) and we also brought along this cake, which may not be fully elevated but certainly makes use of one beloved childhood food – ice cream sandwiches!

Layering Ice Cream Sandwiches

This cake, courtesy of Katherine Sacks and Epicurious, turned out to be a brilliant choice because not only is it super easy to make, it gets made in advance! Pretty much all I want out of party food. The only tricky part was keeping it cold on the way to the party, but a few ice packs made pretty quick work of that. Continue reading

Eating Out in SF: To-Go Dim Sum at Good Mong Kok

As I mentioned, the Boy and I headed up north to celebrate his birthday earlier this summer. We ended up having one afternoon to spend in San Francisco before we flew home, which we mostly spent wandering as it was quite a gorgeous day. True to form, our wandering involved food, because what’s a vacation without it?

San Francisco's Chinatown

We had dallied with the idea of dim sum, but we knew it would probably be tricky given our tight-ish timeline and lack of a reservation (it was a Sunday). However, Yelp soon enlightened me to the existence of something I had never heard of before – to-go dim sum. Continue reading

Eating In: Golden Butter Cake with Berries & Mascarpone Frosting

Summer is a wonderful time, as long as you live in a place with A/C and own a good quantity of sunscreen. It’s a time of parties – hell, all the patriotic holidays fall during summer, and even the least patriotic among us appreciate a day off of work and an outdoor BBQ. It’s also – in my opinion – a time for fruity, lighter desserts, which I appreciate as those tend to be my favorite variety (especially pie…but that’s another blog post).

Hence, as we leave Memorial Day behind and approach Labor Day, I was excited to try my hand at making Valerie Gordon‘s Golden Butter Cake with Berries and Mascarpone Frosting, which seemed like a beautiful combination of patriotic coloring and summer berry bounty.

Golden Butter Cake with Berries & Mascarpone Frosting

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Skoshbox: Japanese Snacks Subscription Box (June 2016)

As you can tell, life’s been a bit busy around these parts – I haven’t had a chance to post anything in a while. I’ve been doing a bunch of traveling for the new gig, which tends to throw off the whole “everyday life” schedule a little bit.

But life does go on, and with it (currently) goes on the Boy’s Skoshbox subscription, which we are still thoroughly enjoying. I figured I’d give you a peek at another box, this time from June 2016.

Skoshbox Snack List

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Playing Lighthouse Keeper: A Night at East Brother

For someone who is wholly stressed out by planning surprises, it seems I do plan quite a lot of them – case in point: This year, I decided to do a “surprise” trip for the Boy’s birthday. Hey, if there’s one thing that makes the stress of a surprise worth it, it’s doing it for someone you love. Now, I say “surprise” because the Boy knew we were going somewhere – I had to get his frequent flyer number, after all – and he know it was somewhere not far away. Eventually, he figured out it was the Bay Area, but not until we got within sight of the East Brother Light Station did he realize that the true surprise was our hotel – which was, in fact, a Victorian-lighthouse-slash-B-&-B located in between the San Francisco and San Pablo Bays.

Lighthouse Panorama

Now, we had a great time on the gorgeous little windy island with our wonderful B&B hosts, but I still have a few warnings for you should you choose to undertake this journey yourself – and oh, it is a JOURNEY. Continue reading

Eating Out: Hyperion Public

It’s Restaurant Week in Los Angeles right now (more accurately, Restaurant Fortnight – it’s two weeks long) – and the city’s food lovers are going wild! I’m out-of-town most of this week (side note: I got a new gig) and so we celebrated/bid me farewell with a Restaurant Week night out at Hyperion Public in Studio City over last weekend.

Hyperion Public is a pub-style place with an appropriate accompanying menu, and their Restaurant Week offering gave us an appetizer, entrée, and drink for $29. Not bad, right? (Also, we did the math, and no matter what we ordered we would each save at least $5 and often closer to $10 ). It’s a warm space with a little patio, casual but classy.

We started with “The Pretzel,” served with Dijon mustard and “OMG Dip.” Buttery and soft, I thoroughly enjoyed this, and the “OMG Dip” was tangy and cheesy and generally excellent. For the other app, we ordered the croquettes (duh), crispy balls of potato and cheese served with spicy tomato sauce. The croquettes were YUM-my, though I wish the sauce had been served on the side as it quickly started to sog up the crispy outsides.

The Pretzel

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Eating In: Cheesy Cornmeal Pancakes & A “Crumble”

Sometimes, on a weekend (and I’m sure you all can relate), I am inspired to make fancy breakfast. Some might even call it brunch.  However, rarely am I moved to plan ahead for these occasions and even more rarely do I want to do any actual grocery shopping when the mood for fancy breakfast/brunch arises. So, I make do with what we have, which on one particular morning led me here – to Cheesy Cornmeal Pancakes inspired by a recipe from the blog Shutterbean by Tracy Benjamin, and a very improvised thing we’re calling a Balsamic Fruit “Crumble.”

Cornmeal Pancakes and Fruit "Crumble"

This is an adaptation of Tracy’s pancakes, as I did not have many of the things that were supposed to go in the originals, called Cheddar Chive Cornmeal Pancakes. Most importantly, I did not have cheddar or chives. So Cheesy Cornmeal Pancakes it was, made with the Mexican cheese blend that happened to be sitting in my fridge. I know a recipe is good when I can improvise with it, as cooking improvisation is generally not where my skills lie. Continue reading

Eating Out: The Cannibal

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you’re well aware that I love food. You’re probably also aware that if I had unlimited time, money, and stomach space, I would be systematically eating my way through Los Angeles’s dining scene. I don’t have any of those things, but it doesn’t mean I don’t still try my damndest to do so. So, on a day when we needed lunch and there was nothing in the house, it didn’t take too much convincing to get the Boy and me over to Culver City’s up-and-coming hot spot The Cannibal.

The Cannibal

The Cannibal, which originates from a location in New York City, is a self-described “butcher’s restaurant” where the focus is on the meat. The full restaurant, at least for now, is only open for dinner, but there is a butcher shop/sort of deli counter where you can get a curated selection of sandwiches, salads, and the like. That’s what we tried (so I can’t speak to the restaurant – yet. I did ogle some awesome-looking charcuterie boards being assembled, though). Continue reading